Armagh was an important pagan spiritual centre in Ireland. According to legend, St. Patrick founded a church here in the year 457, an act which made the town the "ecclesiastical capital" of Ireland. The St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh was built between 1840 and 1904 to replace the medieval Cathedral, which was recovered by the Church of Ireland during the Protestant Reformation. Construction of the Gothic Revival building began on St. Patrick's Day in 1840.
The life of St. Patrick is a great source for many traditional stories. As a missionary, the saint travelled a great deal, and is credited with many visits, constructions and miracles. Here are five sites that bear witness to the legend of Saint Patrick.
The abbey of Lérins is an abbey that was built between the 11th and 14th centuries, and later in the 19th century after being closed during the French Revolution. This construction, however, replaced another monastery which had existed since the 5th century and was supposedly founded by Honoratus who gave his name to the island. During the 5th and 6th centuries, the monastery attracted monks who ensured its fame. Legend has it that it was this monastery that St. Patrick studied in before undertaking the evangelisation of Ireland.
Marmoutier Abbey is a former Benedictine abbey supposedly founded by Martin de Tours in 372. The abbey experienced a golden age during the Middle Ages, but after centuries of decline, it was demolished during the French Revolution. The part of the site housing the remains of the former abbey was bought by the city of Tours in 1981 and archaeological excavations have been underway since 2004. There is evidence of St. Patrick passing through this abbey on his way back from Ireland. In addition, there is not only St. Patrick's cave near the abbey, but also the village of St. Patrice, whose patron saint is Saint Patrick.
The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity is an Anglican cathedral whose presence has been attested to since the eleventh century. The Cathedral has gone through a tumultuous history through the Norman invasion (1169–1175), the Bruce campaign (1315 – 1318) and the Tudor conquest (16th century). It has been destroyed numerous times and has only been open without interruption since 1818. The cathedral claims to be the burial place of Saint Patrick and an engraved tombstone was placed here in 1900.
Glastonbury Abbey, now in ruins, is linked to legend to a degree unparalleled by any other abbey in England. Since Medieval times it has held legendary status as the earliest Christian foundation in Britain linked to Joseph of Arimathea and the burial place of King Arthur. One of these legends claims that after his episcopate in Ireland, Saint Patrick retired to Glastonbury Abbey where he became the first abbot. He supposedly died there and was buried next to the high altar in the "Old Church".